Articles in the Category

Homeopathy and Cancer
By jdc325
Posted in , , syndicated on 11 August 2008
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The Homeopathy4Health blog has posted a piece that links to an internet article on cancer and homeopathy, based on a book authored by homeopath Ramakrishnan. Here is [a slightly amended - I changed 'evidence' to 'research' in the last sentence - version of] the comment I left on H4H’s blog, a reply from H4H and [...]

A Beginner’s Guide to Chiropractic
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 8 August 2008
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[BPSDB] What is chiropractic anyway? The Wiki page on Chiropractic is OK and gives details of the history, philosophy, regulation and effectiveness (or otherwise) of chiropractic. Highlights include these gems: “Although vaccination is one of the most cost-effective forms of prevention against infectious disease, it remains controversial within the chiropractic community. Most chiropractic writings on [...]

Hahnemann would have thought modern homeopaths were barmy
By David Colquhoun
Posted in , , , , syndicated on 8 August 2008
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Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843) was the originator of homeopathy. He was clearly a well-intentioned man.. There is good reason to believe that he thought dilution could not go on for ever, but he died 22 years before it became possible to calculate that his favourite 30C dilution already contained nothing at all.

The [...]

More Legal Chill - from Spine Cracking Chiropractors
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 8 August 2008
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Cool: badscience.net, holfordwatch.info and dcscience.net are all covering the latest woo legal chill. DC’s recent post Doctor Who? was an article he’d had published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Chiropractors naughtily using the appellation “Doctor”, there is a PDF of the NZMJ response here: classy, and I’ll quote one of my (and Holford [...]

Silence Dissent!
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in , syndicated on 8 August 2008
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The CAM world meets a new all time low this week - even by their own standards - as the New Zealand Chiropractors Association threaten the New Zealand Medical Journal with legal action for criticising their ideas and practice.

Slap on the Wrist for Spine Crackers - ASA Kick Ass
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 7 August 2008
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Well, here’s my first post for BPSDB: There’s an ASA judgement on the website at the moment relating to an advert by some manipulators called Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic. The issue? The General Chiropractic Council challenged whether the claim “The Gonstead System of Chiropractic … remains the leader in Chiropractic techniques due to the lengthy [...]

Otherwise engaged
By draust
Posted in , , syndicated on 4 August 2008
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Dr Aust has not been blogging much lately.

Well, actually Dr Aust never blogs all that much, being much better at ranting off-the-cuff in the comments threads of other peoples’ blogs (thanks again, Holfordwatch, Orac, Dr Crippen at NHS Blog Doctor, Ben Goldacre and David Colquhoun) than at penning considered well-researched essays (too much [...]

DOH Email On CAM
By jdc325
Posted in , syndicated on 31 July 2008
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Via Improbable Science, I was made aware of a piece in the Times where Alice Miles recommended writing to Ben Bradshaw regarding an NHS consultation:
The Government responded on Monday - with a three-month consultation. So join in. Write to the Health Minister Ben Bradshaw at Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, SW1A 2NS. Write, on behalf of the NHS: “What [...]

Whiny Sceptics
By jdc325
Posted in , , syndicated on 28 July 2008
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I’ve been blogging about bullshitters and mindfuckers since, ooh, last September. Recently, I claimed that woos are angry and I asked why. For balance, perhaps I should ask why sceptics are so whiny?
Sceptics and woos sometimes appear to be almost like adults and children. The kids are asking why they can’t use the Akashic field [...]

Blame everyone but yourselves
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in , , featured, syndicated on 25 July 2008
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Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday July 26 2008
Like many professions who kill people with some regularity, doctors have elaborate systems for seeing what went wrong afterwards, and the answer is rarely “Brian did it”. This week the papers have been alive with criticism for quack nutritionism after the case of Dawn Page, a 52 year old [...]

Alternative therapy for evil homeopaths. By Robert Shrimsley
By David Colquhoun
Posted in , , , syndicated on 24 July 2008
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This, I fear, is pure plagiarism, Robert Shrimsley’s piece in today’s Financial Times was so funny that it just begged to be quoted. Here it is.

Surely this is a call to action. The news that Radovan Karadzic has been hiding out as some kind of homeopath has confirmed all prejudices about alternative medicine. [...]

Why Are Woos So ANGRY?
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 18 July 2008
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Despite the cuddly image Alt-Med types like to project, they do seem to get ever so angry when their ideas are discussed. There was David Tredinnick on food supplements and alternative medicine ["however, I had to warn her that if the issue was not taken seriously, there were people-I did not use the term lightly, [...]

Black is white.. day is night.. less is more.. nothing is everything (yes, homoeopathy again)
By draust
Posted in , , , syndicated on 15 July 2008
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One of the more reliable sources of online laughs recently has been the comments thread following a ludicrous letter criticizing the rather wonderful Professor Edzard Ernst that appeared in the Times Higher Educational Supplement a couple of weeks back.
The letter was penned by Michelle Shine, a London homeopath. Shine is criticizing Ernst for applying critical [...]

How Smart Are Politicians?
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 11 July 2008
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Not very smart at all if David Tredinnick is anything go go by. I wrote about him speaking on homeopathy back in February and today I noticed a link on the Improbable Science miniblog to an old speech he gave [see first link for full debate]. His opening remarks included this gem: “Regrettably, the availability [...]

Marin-ated in Woo
By draust
Posted in , syndicated on 5 July 2008
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One of the abiding questions in the bad science fraternity is:

“Where on earth did all this Wibble come from?”

(“Wibble” being Dr John Crippen’s slightly more whimsical synonym for “Woo”)

There are all sorts of answers to this question.

One, of course, is that Woo/Wibble has always been with us. After all, Samuel_Hahnemann’s [...]

Five good books and a bad one
By David Colquhoun
Posted in , , , , syndicated on 2 July 2008
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During the last year, there has been a very welcome flurry of good and informative books about alternative medicine. They are all written in a style that requires little scientific background, even the one that is intended for medical students.
CAM, Cumming | Trick or Treatment | Snake Oil Science |
Testing treatments [...]

Here’s a good game……
By majikthyse
Posted in , syndicated on 24 June 2008
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The game is to see how long it takes to get banned from an alternative medicine or other irrational site. I tried it with www.mercola.com. I have been monitoring the site for some time, and the other week decided to see how tolerant Joe Mercola would be to someone telling the truth. So I created [...]

From Cochrane reviews to celeb bowels: Holford bestrides the arena
By draust
Posted in , , syndicated on 8 June 2008
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Star UK Nutri-Guru Patrick Holford may not be an Honorary Professor any more, but he still likes to quote (or perhaps “cherry-pick”) science to help pitch his advice, books and supplements.
An example is on the extensive website dealing with the modestly-entitled “Holford Low-GL diet”, where he has a bit talking about a recent Cochrane review [...]

Legal Chill and Other Threats
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 6 June 2008
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I’ve recently witnessed some examples of slightly threatening behaviour on the internets and I was reminded of a few of the previous spats I’ve seen covered on the various blogs I read. There have been lawyer’s letters, accusations both of libel and of copyright breach, and comments posted or letters sent by angry nutritionists (in the [...]

Royal Pharmaceutical Society defends quackery
By David Colquhoun
Posted in , , , , , syndicated on 5 June 2008
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We have often had cause to criticise Boots Alliance, the biggest retail pharmacist in the UK, because of its deeply unethical approach to junk medicine. Click here to read the shameful litany. The problem of Boots was raised recently also by Edzard Ernst at the Hay [...]

A university so open its brain fell out
By majikthyse
Posted in , syndicated on 4 June 2008
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There has always been a virtually seamless interface between the Open University (OU) and the BBC, as anyone watching the two Kathy Sykes TV series on CAM will have been reminded. A friend pointed me towards the OU website, and especially the pages that viewers were directed to for further information. I have copied below [...]

The Wounded Homeopath
By majikthyse
Posted in , , syndicated on 2 June 2008
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The other day, in a social context, I got into a conversation with a very nice chap who turned out to be a homeopath. You know how it is, he asked me what I did, and I explained that I am a freelance clinical science consultant. He said he is a retired GP who spent [...]

OK, Just a Little Bit More Briffa
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 30 May 2008
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Someone named Lex commented on Dr Briffa’s statistical significance post and made this remark: “when it comes to homeopathy and food supplements they always do include the placebo effect- they would run a mile from a double-blind trial” and Briffa responded with this:
I entirely understand the need of some people to perform randomised, placebo controlled [...]

Briffa - as bad as Holford
By jdc325
Posted in , , , , syndicated on 30 May 2008
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I always thought that Dr John Briffa was like a more grown-up version of Patrick Holford. He was just a doctor writing diet books and a magazine column - as far as I knew, he was not employed by supplement companies, recommended no inappropriate allergy tests and generally sounded fairly sensible. He’s blown it now though.
Now, I’ve got a sneaking [...]

The “toxins in vaccines” crowd are still with us
By draust
Posted in , , syndicated on 29 May 2008
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Rather depressingly, the anti-vaccinationists, those Never-say-die Energizer Bunny types of the Alt Reality fraternity, are back for another round.
As a lot of Bad Science-aware people will already know, American surgeon-blogger Orac, of Respectful Insolence blog fame - and bete noire of the vaccines-cause-autism lobby - has been writing about the imminent UK arrival (well, [...]

How to catch malaria
By majikthyse
Posted in , , , syndicated on 26 May 2008
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One of the best ways I know is to follow the advice of a homeopath. But one such source has been at least partly spiked, the infamous Neal’s Yard Remedies. Many of you will know about the BBC South West TV sting, which resulted in embarrassing footage of an interview and the withdrawal of the [...]

Brain Pills in Schools
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 22 May 2008
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Just a very brief post today on ‘brain pills’. I found this in my daily email from the BBC today. The report states that:
Schools and universities may soon need to test students sitting exams for brain improving drugs, experts say.
So, in the near future society will be policing children’s use of substances that are thought to improve brain function. [...]

The last rites for ‘alternative’ nutritional therapy?
By jonhw
Posted in , , syndicated on 26 April 2008
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In yesterday’s Telegraph, Damian Thomson asks whether we’re seeing “The last rites for alternative medicine?” For Thomson
CAM’s [Complementary and Alternative Medicine's] real problem…is shortage of proof. The information technology brilliantly exploited by unorthodox therapies is now being harnessed to spread the inconvenient truth that most of them don’t work. Sceptics in the blogosphere [...]

Nutritionistas
By jdc325
Posted in , , , syndicated on 25 April 2008
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Possibly the highest-profile nutritionista in the UK is Patrick Holford. Patrick has featured on many sites, including the Quackometer blog. The Bad Science blog has often featured Holford and he also appears on Damian Thompson’s Counterknowledge blog. Holford has written several books on nutrition - most notably the Optimum Nutrition Bible and Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, [...]

Westminster University BSc: “amethysts emit high yin energy”
By David Colquhoun
Posted in , , , , , syndicated on 23 April 2008
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Times Higher Education has published a league table showing that the University of Westminster is head of the league table for the number of courses in quackery. With fine timing, I just acquired the slides for their lecture on “vibrational medicine”. See a selection of them. It seems that Amethyst; the ‘Transmutator’ . . .emits high Yin energy so transmuting lower energies and clearing and aligning energy disturbances . . .”. This is part of a vocational “Bachelor of Science” degree. It is beyond parody. You couldn’t make it up.